The stadium-wide sale of alcohol at Tulane football games can be traced back to 1967, a year after the Green Wave left the SEC to become independent.
More than five decades later, whether or not Tulane’s former league mates, including LSU, will finally join it in the booze business will be the hot topic at next week’s SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, Sports Illustrated reports.
On the agenda for league decision makers is a decades-old bylaw prohibiting member schools from selling alcohol in general seating areas at athletic venues. The bylaw will be “front and center” during the four-day event at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort, says one athletic director; another AD says it’s “the main thing.” The administrators spoke to Sl on a condition of anonymity.
LSU can sell alcohol in private sections of the Tiger Stadium, but can’t in what’s considered public areas, which is much of the open bowl.
The pressure on SEC leaders to soften the policy is greater than ever. At least 55 Football Bowl Subdivision programs serve alcohol throughout the stadium. Last fall, Arizona, Oregon, Boston College, Oklahoma State and Colorado expanded sales from premium areas and into general seating. This fall, Illinois, Rutgers, Oklahoma and Texas Tech will join the mix.
Many of them cite an additional revenue stream, fewer reported binge drinking incidents and an enhanced game-day experience that boosts attendance as reasons for the change. The SEC is not immune to the national attendance decline that hit a 22-year low this past season: The league’s per-game attendance average of 73,994 was the lowest since 2002 and nearly 5,000 below 2015’s average.
Even the NCAA lifted its long-standing ban on alcohol sales at championship events last spring, citing a successful two-year pilot program that diminished alcohol-related incidents. Read the full story.